Stephen Graham Line of Duty

Line of Duty series 1 – 5: All guest stars ranked, from Lennie James to Stephen Graham

Bent copper alert!

Kelly Macdonald guest stars in the sixth series of Line of Duty as DCI Joanne Davidson, who “will prove the most enigmatic adversary AC-12 have ever faced”.

She joins a long list of unforgettable famous faces who have already guest starred in the insanely good cop drama.

Who could forget Lennie James’ Tony Gates and THAT death scene in series one…

Or master manipulator Lindsay Denton, played by Keeley Hawes?

Here’s our list of guest stars ranked from least favourite to favourite ahead of the new series starting on Sunday (March 21 2021).

***Warning: spoilers from all five series of Line of Duty ahead***

Kelly Macdonald guest stars as DCI Joanne Davidson in Line of Duty series six (Credit: BBC One)

Read more: Line Of Duty 2021: New series six plot detail reveals link to first season

Line of Duty guest stars

10 Will Mellor (series three)

Hollyoaks’ Jambo in top BBC drama Line of Duty? Why the hell not?

Will played Rod in two episodes of series three, before meeting an untimely end – as half the cast did in this series!

Number 10 on our list actually goes to the whole of series three’s ensemble cast – which was pretty impressive.

We consider this the season with the best group cast, including Jonas Armstrong, Arsher Ali, Will Mellor and George Costigan.

Will Mellor with Line of Duty co-stars
Will Mellor starred as PC Rod Kennedy in Line of Duty (Credit: BBC)

Read more: New Line of Duty: Jed Mercurio admits it’s ‘possible’ top three characters could be killed off

9 Anna Maxwell Martin guest stars as DCS Patricia Carmichael (series five)

We love Anna in Motherland – but her Line of Duty character was anything but the shambolic, unkempt mother of two Julia.

Carmichael came across as half Terminator – cold, calculating and determined to win glory for exposing Ted Hastings as ‘H’.

Only he wasn’t.

Anna’s DCS Carmichael made her debut in the latest and fifth season of the hit show as she stepped in to shake things up at AC-12.

Yes, she was a BLEEP, but we loved to hate her.

Anna Maxwell Martin starred as Carmichael (Credit: BBC One)
Anna Maxwell Martin starred as Carmichael (Credit: BBC One)

8 Jessica Raine guest stars as DC Georgia Trotman (series two)

Call the Midwife actress Jessica portrayed Georgia in series two.

Georgia joined AC-12 from Armed Robbery – and lasted just one episode!

She was smart and dedicated, but had difficulty controlling potentially damaging impulses – like an apparent attraction to DS Arnott.

Jessica’s character ranks in our top 10 because of her epic and unexpected death.

A corrupt copper threw Georgia from a high window after she tried to save the life of Tommy Hunter.

In episode two, DCS Lester Hargreaves revealed that Georgia fell five stories, and that the pathologist had to “spoon half her brain back inside her skull”.

Jessica Raine as Georgia Trotman
Line of Duty guest stars: Jessica Raine starred as Georgia Trotman in only one episode (Credit: BBC One)

7 Jason Watkins plays Tim Ifield (series four)

Forensic Investigator Tim Ifield was played by McDonald & Dodds star Jason Watkins.

A nerdy jobsworth, he got right under DCI Roz Huntley’s skin – quite literally.

The pair came into conflict when he raised concerns about her investigation.

As he started digging into his police colleague, the pair had a violent encounter where only one came out alive…

Roz murdered Tim and hid the evidence, as well as framing him for other crimes.

Jason Watkins Line of Duty
Jason Watkins as Tim Ilfield in Line of Duty (Credit: BBC One)

6 Line of Duty guest stars: Rochenda Sandall as Lisa McQueen (series five)

The OCG recruited Lisa as a teenager to deal drugs along County Lines – or so she claims.

As such, she knows more about the workings of the OCG (Organised Crime Group) than anyone.

Eventually, Lisa received immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony about senior members and activities of the Organised Crime Syndicate.

Under an alias, she now delivers talks to schoolchildren to dissuade them from entering a life of crime.

We loved Rochenda’s character Lisa for being a badass woman in a man’s world, and staying spookily calm when every step she took was dangerous.

Rochenda Sandall as McQueen in Line of Duty series five (Credit: BBC One)
Rochenda Sandall as McQueen in Line of Duty series five (Credit: BBC One)

5 Daniel Mays plays Sergeant Danny Waldron (series three)

Daniel Mays has to be one of the most adorable actors on earth, so it was a shock when episode one of series three painted him as a bad guy.

Daniel played Danny, a member of an armed response unit.

In episode one, he’s put under investigation after the suspicious killing of a suspect.

However, as the story unfolded, we began to realise what was motivating him to do such dangerous and unpredictable things.

Danny was sexually abused as a young boy and is out for revenge.

Sadly, Danny did not survive the series.

Danny Waldron played by Daniel Mays in Line of Duty
Danny Waldron played by Daniel Mays in Line of Duty (Credit: BBC One)

4 Thandie Newton plays DCI Roz Huntley (series four)

Roz was an ambitious copper who had to claw her way back to the top after maternity leave. Respect for that alone.

Under pressure to nail a suspect in a lead investigation, however, Roz broke the law herself.

She murdered colleague Tim Ilfield and, after an investigation by AC-12, ended up in jail.

Since April 30 2017, she has been imprisoned for the manslaughter of Timothy Ifield and for perverting the course of justice.

Notable mention to Lee Ingleby who plays Thandie’s husband Nick.

Thandie Newton and Lee Ingleby in Line of Duty series three (Credit: BBC One)
Thandie Newton and Lee Ingleby in Line of Duty series three (Credit: BBC One)

3 Lennie James as DCI Antony Gates (series one)

Lennie James’ DCI Antony Gates will always be an important character for being the first.

He was a slippery corrupt policeman, who crossed several lines to cover up his tracks.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Gates led serious crime unit TO-20.

Adored by his loyal team, he returned the best crime figures on the Force for three years running and was awarded Officer of the Year.

Happily married with two young daughters, Tony Gates appeared to be a model officer…

But, of course, he was far from it!

Tony chose to walk into traffic rather than go into custody at the end of series one.

Eye-popping scenes saw him walk onto the motorway and get struck by a lorry.

Lennie James says: “Tony is well and truly mashed – dead and gone.

“He was a fantastic character to bring to life, one of my favourite characters that I’ve played.”

lennie james in line of duty
Lennie James as Tony Gates in Line of Duty series one (Credit: BBC One)

Line of Duty guest stars runner-up!

2 Stephen Graham plays John Corbett (series five)

Stephen Graham’s character John Corbett was the ruthlessly ambitious leader of an Organised Crime Group (OCG).

Or so we thought when we first met him.

His willingness to go to extreme lengths draws attention from the highest levels of the organisation.

In fact, John is an undercover officer gone very rogue indeed.

Viewers were left wondering if they could trust him – until he died in one of the series’ most jaw-dropping moments ever.

Corbett had his throat slit while trying to unearth police corruption.

We still haven’t got over it.

Stephen Graham kept us all guessing as undercover cop John Corbett in series five (Credit: BBC One)
Stephen Graham kept us all guessing as undercover cop John Corbett in series five (Credit: BBC One)

Line of Duty guest stars winner!

1 Keeley Hawes as DI Lindsay Denton (series two)

The role of Lindsay Denton on Line of Duty is arguably the one that proved Keeley deserves to be at the top of her game.

The gone but not forgotten character had more layers than an onion – and left us guessing until the very end.

Honestly, we’re still not sure if she’s a villain or a good guy or both – but that’s why we loved her character.

She was likeable and complex and confusing and infuriating and unhinged all at the same time.

There’s no such thing as two dimensional characters in Line of Duty.

DI Lindsay was a Missing Persons detective, who came under the scutiny of AC-12 in series two.

She remains the only ‘guest star’ to appear in two series – also popping up in series three.

She was granted an appeal trial, and acquitted on the basis of an improper sexual relationship with Arnott.

Sadly for fans, Lindsay was killed off in series three.

Dot Cottan – also known as ‘The Caddy’ – murdered her for refusing to accept a bribe.

Prior to her death, Lindsay discovered crucial evidence pertaining to the Danny Waldron murder investigation and historic child sex abuse.

She sent the evidence by email to AC-12 as her final act.

Bravo, Lindsay!

Lindsay Denton in Line Of Duty series two
Keeley Hawes as Lindsay Denton in series two (Credit: BBC One)

Line of Duty guest stars: Kelly McDonald in series six – what we know so far…

Kelly Macdonald stars as an “enigmatic” DCI whose unconventional conduct raises suspicions.

The Trainspotting star will play Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson, senior investigating officer of an unsolved murder.

She will join lead actors Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar in the show’s sixth series.

“DCI Joanne Davidson will prove the most enigmatic adversary AC-12 have ever faced,” says creator Jed Mercurio.

AC-12 is the drama’s anti-corruption branch.


Line of Duty returns on Sunday March 21 2021 at 9pm on BBC One.

Who is your favourite ever Line of Duty guest star? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor